Everything news, energy ratings, regulations, advice and much more...
Christmas is coming and the nights are drawing in. Most of us are checking our wallets and our bank statements as we enter the season where, traditionally, we spend the most. Finance was a popular topic about a decade or so ago when it became the norm for us to afford the big ticket items and it continued to be for products such as cars. However within this industry the interest in finance dwindled until recent reports revealed that it's not gone. In my latest round of research I came upon reports of fresh demand for finance options when homeowners come to fund their much desired home improvement project. So why is this?
At the end of September I caught up with one of our customers to talk to him about his home extension project and his experiences that he has had whilst managing the works. I wanted to find out what his tips and advice would be for others wanting to embark on a similar project.
No matter where we go today we are encouraged to recycle. We see separate bins when out and about in town and for our homes we are provided separate boxes or communal bins. We are constantly reminded to reuse, repurpose or recycle all in the name of reducing waste which goes to landfill, ends up in our oceans or produces toxins when it is broken down either organically or manually.
Even though the summer is drawing to a close, up and down my street scaffolding is still going up as home improvement projects continue. According to reports more than 20% of remortgages are for home improvement projects, by releasing property equity. A sizable amount of this is being used to extend the home to create more space. Savills have claimed in a recent report that a conservatory is "particularly appealing if attached to a kitchen" (Windows Active, Sept 2017, pg1), this even has the potential to add more than 5% to the value of a dwelling.
It has been a busy year for Window Designs in many aspects and certainly in terms of product developments, we definitely haven't slowed our pace. The latest addition to our product family is the SupaLite Tiled Roof System. We don't just supply this superior roof system; we manufacture it too which means we are able to maintain the same high service standards we offer on our other products.
There have been a couple of pieces of news recently that have grabbed my attention; The housing market is back on the up, more first time mortgages are being approved, parents are lending to second steppers. I thought that I would investigate further to get a rough idea of what is happening within the housing market. In May, according to the Latest Property Index the housing market saw an increase of 7%. After months of the housing market swinging wildly at least 80% of UK towns and cities experienced an increase in houses coming on the market.
At the end of April, Window Designs had the pleasure of welcoming on-board Sam who joined our ranks as Office Administrator. The part I play in training is to teach all there is to know about energy ratings, building regulation and industry technology. Part of this is to request a researched piece on energy ratings and building regulation. As a person who has been in the industry for a long time I always find it educational for me to see the industry through fresh eyes and as a reminder not to take my knowledge for granted. I like the manner Sam has presented and pulled together the information so I thought that I would share it as a starting point for those at the beginning of researching replacement windows.
As I contemplate whether or not to have a BBQ at the weekend and what I'm going to do when the temperature reaches 27C (trying not to get too excited) back in the real world (at work) our Skypod sales have gone through the roof (pardon the pun). The number one consideration of the moment is the choice of glass as there are now so many on the market. Whilst I was out with friends the other day a budding horticulturalist friend of mine was quizzing me about glass properties and what the best glass was for an orangery she was having with plenty of plants. Both of these events have led to this blog post. Just what is the difference between the varying types of Skypod and conservatory roof glass? What are the considerations that need to be made when choosing the glass for an orangery?
Finally the temperature is heating up, the sky is blue and outside my brick confines, the day is bright. It is that time of year where we at Window Designs spend more time giving advice to homeowners on planned extensions and refurbishment, as we all get hopeful for a summer spent in the garden. After spending the last month putting together blog posts, which I hope will help homeowners in their search for windows and doors, my thoughts are now pulled towards home improvements as we move into the busier months. What do they mean to the industry? What is happening in the market? More importantly, how will the construction market be affected by the impending election and Brexit?
Welcome to part 4 of my homeowners guide to buying windows. In this post I will be looking at the different competent persons schemes on the market to give you an idea of what they mean to you and what to expect, along with what to do if you are not happy. If you have any questions about the content or you would like my advice on a topic, please don't hesitate to get in touch, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to part 3 of my homeowners guide to buying windows. In this post I will be looking at what you would expect once you have chosen and agreed to go ahead with a quotation. If you have any questions about the content or you would like my advice on a topic, please don't hesitate to get in touch, send it to email@example.com.
Welcome to part 2 of my homeowners guide to buying windows. In this post I will be looking at creating an initial budget, the type of research that you may like to carry out and how to go about gathering quotations. I hope you find the content useful and if you have any questions or you would like me to address or expand on a particular point, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Through my journey trawling the industry magazine I stumbled across a report about showroom psychology which divided both salesmen and customers into 4 groups respectively. Whilst this is interesting and useful to understand I thought I'd go on the hunt to get a more in-depth insight into the views and opinions of homeowners on the double glazing industry whilst passing on critical information to help homeowners navigate the sometimes daunting process of purchasing windows.
We would like to thank Neville Double Glazing, Swain Bros, Lewes Glass and everyone else who sponsored Marc and Stewart in the Brighton Marathon and for supporting the Samaritans and the Sue Ryder hospice. I am happy to announce that with your help they have raised over £1400 for these amazing causes.
The beginning of the year and the view through the window flickers between winter and spring as the year begins to take hold. Nobody's too sure where the market is going to take us as the government begins to contemplate what is now being dubbed as Britain's "divorce" from Europe and how the supermarkets are handling the broccoli crisis. One thing that is certain however is the movement that is happening in the property and construction market.
It's the 7th year that a large group of people from all walks of life gather in Brighton to run, walk or skip around a 26.2 mile course, dressed up as a shark, lion or even something a bit risque (this is Brighton), while on lookers chant, cheer, play loud music and pass round Jelly Babies or even the odd banana. As a resident I have been along to chortle and cheer on many an occasion and the buzz around the city notches up above normal levels, it's always amazing to witness so many people coming together.
With storm Doris whistling through the trees outside I'm putting fingers to keyboard and pondering the continuing outlook for the year ahead. Last year was particularly turbulent within politics both at home and abroad to say the least. No doubt we will be hearing about it for months to come, but with everyone putting their pennies worth in and clamouring to predict what's going to happen within the industry I thought I'd put conjecture aside and summarise the known, familiar landscape.
As you know we have now certified many of the products in our product range with the BFRC. As a result this means that you will need the new details to be able to register the product with FENSA or Certass. Here is a quick reference list of the products with their energy rating, uValue and all the certificates can be found on this site if you need them at www.windowdesigns.co.uk/certification.html.
The opening of this New Year sees one product development after another at Window Designs. After months of work behind the scenes at the end of last year I am happy to announce that amongst the numerous changes in our product line, Window Designs are now manufacturing A Rated vertical sliders in both the Spectus and Eurocell Systems as standard.
Time always seems to pass so quickly, we're not even out of January and I'm announcing a third product update. This time our composite door range has expanded to include more styles, glass and furniture options.
As we open the window on the New Year Window Designs are launching an array of product developments as ongoing proof that we are a company that doesn't rest on its laurels. With what seems to be an annual event (perhaps it's not, it may just be me) a guide to energy efficiency from the Glass Times lands on my desk and a couple of headlines bring a smile to my face; Is energy efficiency still relevant? And; Is energy efficiency old news? Of course these were just the headlines and the articles were broader and more in-depth, however they initially made me smile.
As we enter into the New Year with a varied outlook both economically and meteorologically, Window Designs are rolling out their samples for the newly launched Eurocell Modus flush sash system. Having finalised the product shortly before the yearly industry Christmas break Window Designs are now in full swing of the production of this new product line. The Modus flush sash window system delivers all the aesthetics of a timber window yet retains all the performance benefits of a uPVC window. With its unique 75mm six chamber profile system this product delivers the optimum in energy efficiency and the standard flush sash window has an energy rating of A+ which is registered with the BFRC.
Sleigh bells ring are you listening..? Sorry, I know it's far too early for that. As we are moving in to the time of year where some of us decorate our windows with fake snow or imitation frost, because our windows are too efficient for that to happen anymore, I am happy to announce that I have just finished the latest round of product development for Window Designs Ltd and they are now even better that before. I am currently in the process of certifying a whole host of Window Designs products with the BFRC (British Fenestration Ratings Council). 10 of our products across the product range are being certified under the BFRC WER (Window Energy Ratings) and DSER (Door Set Energy Rating) scheme these will include A++ rated casement windows, A+ rated flush sash windows, A rated vertical sliders and A rated bi-fold doors among others will be included in this new round of development which is set to launch in the New Year.
It is an exciting time of year at Window Designs not just because it is the run up to Christmas and the office is about to be filled with chocolate, but because we are nearly set to launch a new product to market. After a couple of months of programming machinery, running tests, looking at components to develop the complete product and making decisions on product certification, Window Designs are now moving to produce samples for their dedicated industry professionals. In the New Year Window Designs will be launching to market their first fully flush sash casement window. This window is being manufactured from the Eurocell Modus Flush Sash window system and is set to be launched early next year with an energy rating of A+ as standard.
It all has a tendency to get a little confusing when it comes down to building regulations. Over the last 3 years there were supposed to be changes to Part L (thermal efficiency) which didn't really happen. There were changes to Part M which pretty much flew under the radar and the changes to Part Q for New Builds have been confused with the introduction of PAS 24:2016. With the amount of building regulation changes over the last few years I thought that I might pull together a little round up and refresh.
We have been developing our site in Eastbourne, East Sussex over the last few months, creating a dedicated area for the manufacture of Skypods and conservatory roofs. In the coming weeks I'll be publishing more of an update about the developments, however in the mean time I thought that I would share a few photos with you... Come and see...
I have been in the industry for a long time and I have learnt about all of the technological and regulatory developments as they have emerged, sometimes I forget how much there is to know. A few months ago our new Administration Officer, Gaby, came on-board. As part of her training about the industry I asked her to write a piece on energy efficiency and other aspects that impact our industry. I loved the tone of the piece that she gave me and thought that I would share it with anybody trying to understand information that is need, either as a homeowner buying windows and doors or a person starting out in the industry.
On my latest perusal of the industry magazines it's nice to see a very different, however important topic being written about other than Brexit, Window Energy Ratings and PAS24...
With the tilt and turn standing open in my office reflecting a partial view as I gaze out at the other, I ponder our current developments. As a company we are constantly keeping our eye on the market and on technology, to keep pace with and stay ahead of the game. This year has already seen significant change with the expansion of the factory and the erection of a new space, with further new developments coming later in the year.
For many reasons small businesses are the life blood of the economy and are what keeps the UK economic heart beating. However they are so often ignored and with all of the surrounding bureaucracy and red tape, quite frequently find it difficult to survive. In George Osbourne's last ever budget small businesses were ignored with only cuts to corporation tax announced. With the increasingly cumbersome business rates, rises in fuel duty, increasing regulatory pressure and increasing costs within the workforce, amongst others, it?s making trading conditions tricky to say the least. However, saying this, the small business is in many cases resilient and adaptable.
As someone who lives in one of the UK's most expensive cities beyond London I have been curious how the current climate and how Brexit will affect the housing market within the UK. One of the major practises that inflated the prices where I live is investors buying property in London to invest their money, pushing up the housing prices there and pushing others to the outlying towns and villages inflating those house prices. It will be interesting to see how the exit from the European Union will affect how London is viewed as an investment opportunity.
As we come into spring and I watch the Seagulls fight on the roof tops I am reminded of a couple of things? In a few weeks I am going to be hearing the dulcet tones of Seagulls on the roof tops as they rear their young and of some amazing advances in glazing in our industry, particularly the topic of solar energy. Glass is amazing and something that we take for granted. It's a liquid that we use as a vessel to drink from, use as a barrier in windows to keep the rain out and protect our home from heavy winds and in some cases use in submarine vessels to plunge to the deepest darkest depths of the ocean. It's basically a liquid that we use to keep out liquid.
Lots of people aspire to build their own property and individuals and developers alike are all being encouraged to build. Each council has been given a quota of the number of houses that have to be built by 2020 to meet the increasing demands of our ever increasing population. The only problem is all the barriers to construction and hoops that someone has to jump through before they can get their planning heard.
Buzzwords; Energy Efficiency, Energy Saving, Thermal Efficiency, Energy Ratings, uValues, Triple Glazing. They're everywhere? On a glorious day outside my window are the rolling hills of the South Downs and I'm reminded of just how unseasonably warm this winter has been. As someone who regularly enjoys running along the seafront listening to my MP3 player, my long leggings seem to still be lying dormant in the wardrobe.
Have you ever thought about lying back in bed and gazing up at the stars on a clear night? Sounds somewhat blissful and makes me relaxed and sleepy all at the same time. It's another way to create a picture, to take a step back from a frantic day, change your outlook and view a different aspect. You can feel the silence and darkness wrap around you like a blanket as you gaze up at the twinkling lights in a dark sky. How do you relax away from whatever your 9-5 is?
Over the course of the year and in the months that came before, the importance of security has increased, so much so that it has its own section now within building regulations. In the latest update, the building regulations have largely ignored energy efficiency and one of the only changes is that there are no set uValues for windows and doors in New Builds. The uValues are set by calculating the whole dwelling energy performance based on Target CO2 Emission Rate (TER) and Target Fabric Energy Efficiency Rate (TFEE). In the event that this is not available then a frame cannot be installed with a uValue worse than 1.4.
Most of us these days spend our time looking down (or up) at our hands and the world passes us by through the screen on our phones. Increasingly we capture moments in time and post them for the entire world to see, on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and the likes. We frame our world, our memories and make use of Selfie Sticks (or the youngsters do) to do it.